Archive for the ‘Drugs in Sport’ Category

Titans’ Bird, Harrison, Loa Have Charges Dropped

Worst diver in the game, Greg Bird. Image: http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-origin-2015-trevor-gillmeister-fears-fakers-might-decide-match/story-fndv2twz-1227369174577

Gold Coast Titans Players Greg Bird, Beau Falloon, Ashley Harrison, and Kalifa Faifai Loa have had their charges for cocaine possession dismissed in a Southport Magistrates court this week.

The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Magistrate Callaghan said the prosecution had presented no evidence to substantiate intercepted phone conversations between the players and Joseph Touma pertained to cocaine. The prosecution had said the defendants had used a code-word when referring to the substance. McCallum argued that the word used could refer to anything.

But trio Dave Taylor, Joe Vickery, and Jamie Dowling are yet to stand trial for drug charges. Their defence lawyer, Chris McCallum conceded there was a prima facie case against them.

The scandal emerged in March this year, engulfing former and present NRL players.

Bird has a long and tarnished record both on and off the field. But now says he would be ‘honoured’ to captain the Gold Coast Titans (again).

Bird was the co-captain with Manly-bound Nate Myles in 2013-14; but was stripped of his position when he was caught urinating in public, in December of last year.

The dropped charges come as a huge relief to the struggling Gold Coast club. They narrowly avoided the wooden spoon this year and are desperate to organise a successful strategy for the 2016 season.

Whether Bird will play any part in that strategy remains to be seen.

Jon Jones Pleads Guilty, Receives 18 Months Probabation

Image: en.wikipedia.org

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones has pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in a New Mexico court on Wednesday.

He avoided jail time and was granted a conditional release with up to 18 months of supervised probation.

Because Jones avoided a felony conviction there are no travel restrictions placed on his personal work schedule.

He has, however, been sentenced to community service; the judge mandated he make 72 appearances speaking at local boys and girls clubs and schools in and around Bernalillo county, New Mexico.

In a statement released through his Public Relations team Jones aid:

“With regards to today’s decision made by the court, I am very happy to now be able to put this incident behind me.

“My actions have caused pain and inconvenience in the lives of others, and for that I am tryuly sorry, and I accept full responsibility. I have been working hard during this time away from my sport to grow and mature as a man and to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I have learned a great deal from this situation and I am determined to emerge a better person because of it.

“I apologise to those who were affected by my actions in this incident and I am hopeful that I will be given the opportunity to redeem myself in the eyes of the public, my family, and friends as well as my supporters. I am not sure what the future holds for me but I plan to continue to do the work needed to be productive and successful in every aspect of my life.”

Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight title days after the accident and arrest. The UFC placed him on indefinite suspension. UFC boss Dana White was in attendance at the hearing on Tuesday along with Jones’ manager Malki Kawa.

“The UFC organisation,” says a statement on their website, “is aware that Jon Jones reached a plea agreement with authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico this morning stemming from charges associated with a motor vehicle accident earlier this year.

“As a result, UFC, through Las Vegas-based law firm Campbell & Williams, will thoroughly review the agreement before discussing Jones’ possible reinstatement to return to competition.”

MMA Fighters Boycott Nevada in Response to Diaz Sentence

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

The fallout from the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s handling of the Nick Diaz drug charge continues to worsen.

The Commission handed out a five-year suspension to Diaz (effectively ending his career) for testing positive to cannabis after his UFC 183 bout.

Fans and fighters were outraged at the excessive nature of the ban. And MMA fighters are making their displeasure known by refusing to fight in the state of Nevada.

The latest to add his name to the blockade is Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medallist.

Fast rising bantamweight Aljamain sterling tweeted that he is intent on doing the same, “ … let the NSAC know,” he broadcast on the 17th, “they need to be unbiased & give a fair process.”

They join female bantamweight Leslie Smith in expressing their dismay at the Star Chamber-like actions of the NSAC.

“This situation is just the latest example demonstrating the need for mixed martial artists to stand together,” said Smith. “(We need) to influence our sport and have our voices heard by speaking together as the mixed martial arts fighter association.”

These fighters are fervently hoping others will make a similar stand. Alone they will accomplish little; but should the stars decide to follow their lead the NSAC may actually be answerable to someone.

Heavyweight Matt Mitrione blasted ex-UFC fighter now executive Matt Hughes for his comments supporting the NSAC. UFC superstar Ronda Rousey has labelled the ban ‘unfair’. For Diaz to receive a penalty five times greater than that given to Anderson Silva. Silva tested positive for steroids in the fight against Diaz.

‘It makes no sense at all.’

She describes herself as a close friend to Diaz and is shocked at the suspension.

Twonsville Holds No Fear For Sharks

http://www.nrl.com/nrl-finals-week-two-information/tabid/10874/newsid/89777/default.aspx

North Queensland Cowboy’s coach Paul Green believes the Cronulla Sharks are semi-finals favourites.

His comments come as the two teams prepare for their weekend do-or-die clash in the first round of the finals.

The match will be played in front of a sold out Townsville crowd, with both teams needing to win.

Green admitted the Sharks were the only team to have beaten his side in both games they played against each other this year. They beat the Cowboys 24-18 in June (in Townsville) and in round 22 won again 30-18 at Shark Park.

“They probably deserve to be favourites for this game,” said Green.

“They’ve beaten us twice throughout the year, they have knocked off the Roosters and done well against (the) top four teams.

“They play a tough brand of footy.”

Most recently they demolished the sliding defending premiers, the Roosters; while the Cowboys were beaten by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 16-12.

Arguably the most divisive man in the NRL, Paul Gallen said to Sky Sports Radio that playing in front of a sold out Townsville crowd held no fear for his side.

“A few of us were having coffee and speaking about this last week – both places hold no fear for us, whether we had to play in Townsville or Brisbane.

“We were saying how exciting it would be to play in Brisbane in front of 50,000 people.

“And in Townsville it would be more than 20,000 and we’ve had success there; so no, it’s not daunting.”

Nick Diaz Suspended for Five Years for Pot?!

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFC_183

The MMA world has gone into overdrive, outraged at the five-year ban to UFC welterweight Nick Diaz for allegedly testing positive to marijuana.

Diaz was also fined a ridiculous 33 per cent of his prize purse – $165,000.

If these penalties seem inordinately heavy when compared with the crime, it’s because they are.

The man Diaz fought before the controversy (Anderson Silva at UFC 183) returned a test positive for steroids. He received only a one-year ban.

Lucas Middlebrook, Diaz’ attorney, presented an aggressive defense to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday. In an at times fiery session he questioned the very validity of the test results.

Middlebrook argued that separate tests by the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) and the World Anti-Doping Agency both showed Diaz had marijuana well below the 150ng/ ML limit.

The only positive test above the limit was returned from Quest Diagnostics, showing 700ng/ML for marijuana.

Middlebrook then called upon an expert witness to discredit the lone positive result.

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

“With all due respect,” said Middlebrook, “if the commission imposes discipline based on the complaint as written, which wholly igmores the two negative tests, thereby depriving this man of his earnings and his future ability to earn a living, it’s not only the highest form of administrative abuse of discretion, but it’s ripe for judicial review and reversal.”

 But the commission had the scent of blood in their nostrils and argued that Diaz had not claimed the use of marijuana on the pre-fight questionnaire – a document all athletes are required to sign.

Diaz showed his contempt for the proceedings by choosing to plead his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer the questions put to him.

MMA fans around the world were stunned.

Marijuana isn’t a performance enhancing drug (the way steroids are). Diaz certainly broke the rules, but banning him for five years effectively ends his career; and to recieve a penalty five times worse than someone using PEDs is absurd.

But what has outraged sportsfans most is the declaration made by Chairman Francisco Aguilar that the sentence is also for things other than the marijuana. “This is  not just a casee of marijuana,” he said. “I think this is a case of complete lack of disregard for the sport.”

But Diaz wasn’t on trial for his attitude.

And while he was also suspended in 2007 and 2012 for marijuana use it seems to be drawing an awfully long bow to say this equates to a ‘disregard for the sport’.

Wrestling Legend on Murder Charges

Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ane6IrGgMUw

Aging wrestling legend Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka (now 72) has been charged with third-degree murder after a previously unreleased autopsy report indicated the death of his girlfriend was a homicide.

In May of 1983 Nancy Argentino, then 23, died after an assault at a motel.

At the time Mr Snuka said the couple had argued and that he had pushed her, causing Ms Argentino to fall.

Later he contradicted this statement saying she had slipped and fallen. He blamed the first interviewers for misunderstanding him.

From that point he denied all wrongdoing.

In his autobiography, published in 2012, Mr Snuka wrote, “terrible things have been written about me hurting Nancy.” He insists they were not true.

But prosecutors, according to The Morning Call, have reopened the case declaring Ms Argentino’s death a homicide.

Mr Snuka was arrested on Tuesday morning at his New Jersey home. He appeared in court briefly before being arraigned to Leheigh country Jail under a $100,000 surety.

Records reveal Mr Snuka returned to the Pennsylvania motel room after a WWF show on May 10, 1983. He found Ms Argentino struggling to breathe and with fluid running from her mouth and nose. According to reports in the New York Post she died the next day.

The post-mortem results revealed she had sustained head injuries (cuts and bruises) consistent with being struck by an object.

Chael Sonnen Speaks about Unfairness of UFC Drugs Policy

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chael_Sonnen#/media/File:Chael_Sonnen_at_UFC_115.jpg

Ex-UFC fighter, TUF coach, and MMA legend Chael Sonnen has spoken to news.com.au about the confusion and controversy surrounding the UFC drugs policy.

Sonnen blasted onto the UFC radar in his middleweight title bout against Anderson Silva. At UFC 117 Sonnen stunned the world by bashing the incumbent champion from pillar-to-post for four rounds. He was the clear winner going into the fifth, but one mistake allowed Silva to steal the match via an armbar submission.

In a post-fight drug test Sonnen tested positive to elevated levels of testosterone.

Four years later he retired amid more positive drug tests and allegations.

Anderson Silva also returned positive results shortly thereafter.

While many of Silva’s former opponents have sought to assuage their losses against Silva in the wake of the drug scandal Sonnen is more prosaic:

“I knew exactly what he was doing and he knew what I was doing, Sonnen said. “You’ve got to understand, there’s a misconception that the UFC had a drug problem. The reality of it is tht it had an age problem. The guys from my generation … things were different when we started, the rules were different, the rules changed over time and we did not change. We were set in our ways and we kinda said, ‘this is how we’ve always done it and this is how we’re gonna keep doing it.

“When the rules changed there were just a lot of guys who were caught with their pants down and there’s no excuse about it. That’s just the way it happened. [Silva’s] in a jam now because there’s a couple of things that were just ridiculous. He failed for three substances. None of the substances I had ever heard of and I doubt any of your readers had heard of them until he tested positive for them, so that’s a little underhanded.

“When you look close, two of the substances are over the counter at every store in the world. They are sleep-aids … I can tell you – in fight week you’re stressed out of your mind, you’re dehydrated, you can’t sleep, and if he took something that’s gonna help him fall asleep, if I’m gonna be his opponent, take more – take five times as much – its’ fine with me.

“To come out and say that stuff is banned with no warning ahead of time – there’s no list, there’s no one you can call and check, there’s no way to tell until it shows up and there’s a violation – that’s underhanded.

Joe Rogan Weighs Into Rousey-Holm Controversy

Amanda Nunes image: https://twitter.com/amanda_leoa

Veteran MMA analyst and UFC commentator Joe Rogan has disagreed with Ronda Rousey over her choice of opponent.

Rousey raised eyebrows by overlooking number one bantamweight contender Miesha Tate and selecting relative MMA unknown Holly Holm.

Holm is by no means a chump however.

“I’ll be fighting Holly Holm, who is actually the most decorated striker we have in all of mixed martial arts,” Rousey announced.

Holm was a 9 times world boxing champion and The Ring Magazine pound-for-pound fighter of the year before moving to MMA and the UFC.

But Joe Rogan believes Rousey has made a mistake.

“That Holly Holm fight … I don’t think that’s smart,” said Rogan in his Sunday podcast. “I would have gone with Amanda Nunes before Holly Holm. Amanda Nunes looked like a badass when she knocked out Sara McMann. That’s a more dangerous fighter … a more marketable fighter. [Holm] is only the best boxer in the world if Ann Wolf decides not to box.

“The Holly Holm fight is not as intriguing to me as Amanda Nunes would be. “Holm’s big issue is the grappling. Who knows though? You never know. Maybe Holly, because her stand-up is so much more refined, she’s been doing it for so much longer, maybe she can keep Ronda away from her.”

There is mounting speculation that the reason Rousey is so dominant in her division is as much because of the lack of talent as Rousey’s near freakish skills.

Rogan agreed.

 “I’m serious, I just think, honestly, the real problem is that there’s a lack of talent .

“Ronda’s going to have to do things now. She’ll have to do a judo match during the day and then have an MMA fight. Remember when Roy Jones Jr. would play basketball? He played basketball the day of a world title defense – the day of (the defense)!”

Rogan went on: “I think Amanda Nunes has real potential. If you look at Claudia Gadelha, she’s world-class, Joanna Jedrzejczyk – world-class. There’s a few: Cris Cyborg Justino, steroids or no steroids, take away the controversy, go by her performances – ferocious. That’s four. There’re four of them.”

Rousey steps into the ring to defend her bantamweight world title against Holm on January 2nd. It will be the main event at UFC 195 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cyborg Justino Offers Catchweight Fight to Rousey

Image: https://twitter.com/criscyborg?lang=en

Cyborg’ Justino has dared UFC women’s bantamweight champion ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey to fight her at a catch-weight of 140 pounds.

Rousey has cleaned out her division and is now set ot fight the former strikefocre champion Meisha Tate, whom she has already submitted twice.

Tate has certainly done all she has needed to for another title shot at Rouseyt, but Justino believes MMA fans around the world want to see the two champions settle once and for all which of them is the most dominant fighter on the planet.

‘Cyborg’ has been as dominant at 145 pounds as Rousey has been at 135 pounds. A catch-weight fight seems to be the ideal solution. But there appear to be some intractable problems:

First Justino has a history of not making weight. She’ll arrive at the weigh-ins 3 – 5 pounds overweight. So by the time of the fight she’s almost 10 – 20 pounds heavier than her opponent.

Second, putting on weight in the form of muscle takes a lot longer than dropping weight in the form of fluids and fat. For Rousey to put on an extra 5 pounds of lean muscle may take months of strict dieting and exercise.

Third, Rousey has publicly scorned Justino as a drug cheat and refuses to respect her for it.

But when speaking to ESPN on Wednesday ‘Cyborg’ said she was more than ready to face Rousey. She believed the UFC could make the fight if Rousey was willing to go up in weight.

“Ronda Rouseyalready cleaned out her division and she’s doing fight number 3 with Miesha Tate and this shows for us she already cleaned the division. When a champ cleans out a division, everybody saw this, the champ goes up to fight somebody else. I’m a champion at 145 and I can drop to 140 to fight her,” said jJustino.

Rousey has said that if Justino stopped using performance enhancing drugs she could easily make 135 pounds.

UFC boss Dana White refused to be drawn on the question of drugs, but said that if the fight were to happen it would happen at 135 pounds.

Justino has suggested she may seek legal counsel concerning Rousey’s allegations.

“I did this in 2011,” said Justino, “and I already passed six tests and it’s the same exams she’s doing. Because we are in the same organisation now. All exams are the same commission. I don’t think it’s right she says something she cannot prove.”

White believes a fight between Rousey and Justino could be the largest pay-per-view event in UFC history, attracting more than 2.5 million viewers worldwide.

Karmichael Hunt to Face Cross-Examination

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#mediaviewer/File:Cocaine3.jpg

Lawyers for the ex-footballer at the centre of the cocaine scandal have made an application to cross-examine Karmichael Hunt.

Chris Hannay said on Saturday: “We will be making an application to cross-examine witnesses and Karmichael Hunt has provided a witness statement.

“We’re looking forward to getting on with it because this has been a very stressful time for John and his family.”

Hunt was one of the first sporting stars named in a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into a multimillion-dollar cocaine trafficking network.

In February Hunt sensationally rolled over and implicated other NRL and Gold Coast Suns in the scandal. His witness statement and guilty plea came in exchange for lesser charges; but sent shockwaves through the NRL Titans and AFL Gold Coast Suns.

Hunt’s witness statement also formed the centrepiece of the prosecution’s case against Tourma.

The Gold Coast Titans will see seven past and present players face court in October.

All seven have entered a plea of not guilty to supplying cocaine. They are accused of having done so at a player’s buck’s party and a Mad Monday booze cruise.